Child suicide rate in Spain highest in ten years

by Lorraine Williamson
suicide

The suicide rate among minors is the highest in Spain in a decade. Suicidal behavior among young people is 26% more common this year than last year. These numbers in

Between 2020 and 2022, the Anar Foundation in Spain, which works to protect children and adolescents, registered shocking figures. Since 2012, the foundation has been researching suicide (attempts) among minors. In that time, it has studied 600,000 requests for help related to suicidal behavior in minors. 

Spanish foundation registers shocking suicide rates among young people 

Since 2012, 9,637 cases of young suicides have been recorded. Their research shows six out of ten young people under the age of 18 have attempted suicide at some point. Although 2022 has not yet come to an end, the suicide rate among minors has already reached a record. In 2022, 906 young people committed suicide to date, the highest rate in the last ten years. 

These figures are significant. Even more worrying, according to the foundation, is that between 2019 and 2022 only 44% of minors with suicidal behavior subsequently received psychological help. 

What is the profile of Spanish youth in the risk group? 

Of all young people who have died by suicide, it is striking that they are mostly 16-year-old girls, in many cases they are non-Spanish and have at some point been victims of (sexual) abuse. The highest risk group when it comes to suicide attempts are young women between the ages of 14 and 17 who have run away, self-harmed and/or been victims of abuse in the past. 

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Young people who feel connected to the LGTBIQ+ collective also run a greater risk of suicidal behaviour because they are more often confronted with social exclusion. Violence and bullying can largely be linked to suicidal behavior. The foundation says that currently the most common form of bullying is cyberbullying. 

Also read: The number of youth runaways has risen sharply

Risk signals for parents and schools in Spain 

The Anar Foundation warns parents and schools that there are often different signals in children who are struggling with (mental) health problems and which are then related to suicidal behaviour: self-harm, psychological problems such as gloom, depression, anxiety and eating disorders. 

In Spain there is ‘Teléfono de la esperanza’ (Telephone of hope) with the aim of tackling crisis situations quickly, free of charge and anonymously and to provide the right help as quickly as possible. This free advisory service is available 24 hours a day on 914 590 050 or 914 590 055 or 717 003 717. Esperanza also has local numbers that can be contacted. Click here for the full list.

The Samaritans also have an English speaking service available in Spain. They have a FREEPHONE number (900 525 100) available between 10.00 am and 10.00 pm with a trained listener in total confidence, or they can be contacted by email to pat@samaritansinspain.com.

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